Tell us about yourself and your background
I am a designer, turned female entrepreneur. My entire journey, including this switch, has been very exciting. After completing my education from Modern School, New Delhi, I moved to the UK for my graduation in BA Hons Architecture at the University of Nottingham. I worked in London as an assistant architect, where I realised my keen interest in graphics and branding.
I decided to come back to the motherland and explore opportunities in graphics as well as management to broaden my skill set. I worked for four years in the fields of design and project management.
In December 2014, my husband and I decided to focus on something more meaningful in life and launched “Hygiene and You” in July 2015.
Tell us about the company you have set up
After a lot of brainstorming over coffee on our wedding anniversary, we set up the firm in January 2015 and launched our website www.hygieneandyou.com in July 2015.
We believe that our current lifestyle is becoming a great threat to the ecological balance as well as the health of all living being. With Hygiene and You, we decided to promote sustainable living while encouraging personal hygiene.
“Hygiene and You is here to spread awareness about various sustainable measures that are essential for personal cleanliness. Improved sanitation not only reduces the occurrence/spread of diseases but also leads to better health and standard of life.”
“It is a composite platform for the masses to practice self-care and fight the menace of non-communicable diseases. An optimal and comfortable way to manage this epidemic is by undertaking appropriate interventions in lifestyle.”
“Hygiene and You provides you with best information and products, and empowers you to improve personal hygiene in eco-friendly manner.”
Our focus this year is sanitary waste (waste accumulated by disposable sanitary pads / tampons / adult or baby diapers) which is a huge problem as it cannot be recycled or reused and has extremely harmful effects on the environment as well as on our health.
We are introducing women to reusable cloth pads (produced by organizations like Eco Femme, Shomota, Uger), menstrual cups (Shecup, Mooncup, me luna cups etc.) and cloth diapers.
For people suffering from urinary incontinence, we have recently launched incontinence briefs. These are designed like regular underwear along with some padding that can absorb leakages. Each of these underwear can be reused for 200-250 times, saving the elderly from uncomfort and embarrassment of having to wear adult diapers.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success? How do you manage this?
Even today, not many people are aware of the environmental issues that are piling up due to sanitary waste. Besides, menstruation and incontinence are taboo subjects in our society making it very difficult for us to spread awareness around these subjects.
Along with Vatavaran (a non-profit environmental organization, focusing on solid waste management) we have been participating in events and organizing workshops to explain the effects of these disposable sanitary products and introducing healthier, cheaper and eco-friendly alternatives.
We have been participating in flea markets, nature bazaars and waste management events in Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad and Bangalore.
We have also organized lectures in corporate offices and women’s colleges in Bangalore and Delhi NCR.
We are also very active in a number of women’s only forums on social media, as women are more comfortable to discuss these topics within such mediums.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
Social media has been a great help. Forums like “Sustainable Menstruation India / Menstrual Cups, Cloth Pads, India” have helped me to talk to thousands of women and discuss these products.
I also follow “YourStory” which has been very inspirational and motivating.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
As a women, it is very challenging to balance work and home life. No matter how powerful your career is, you always have certain duties that you cannot run away from. For a female entrepreneur it is very important to stay committed to her vision and not get deviated during the journey – full of challenges – from her career.
Contacting Priyanka N Jain:
This article is accredited to Anju Arora.